Great Black-backed Gull

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

iGreat Black-backed Gull

Conservation status

Least Concern (LC)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Species: L. marinus
Binomial name
Larus marinus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus, is a very large gull which breeds on the European and North American coasts and islands of the North Atlantic. It is fairly sedentary, but some Great Black-backed Gulls move further south or inland to large lakes or reservoirs.

This species breeds singly or in small colonies, making a lined nest on the ground often on top of a rocky stack. 3-5 eggs are laid.

This is the largest gull, much bigger than a Herring Gull. It is 61-74 cm long with a 1.4 to 1.7 m wingspan. It is bulky, and has a powerful bill. The adults have black wings and back, with conspicuous white "mirrors" at the wing tips. The legs are pinkish, and the bill yellow with a red spot.

Young birds have scaly black-brown upperparts, and a neat wing pattern. They take at least four years to reach maturity, development in this species being somewhat slower than that of other large gulls. The call is a deep "laughing" cry.

These are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey. They frequently rob other seabirds of their catch. It can swallow a puffin or a small wild duck whole.

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